Crossed Wires About VP Hide-Out

Peter Mirijanian shares the mike with Vince Borelli, lead singer for The Joker's Wild.
Peter Mirijanian shares the mike with Vince Borelli, lead singer for The Joker's Wild. (Photo By Neshan H. Naltchayan - Photo By Neshan H. Naltchayan)

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, May 19, 2009; 12:00 AM

Crossed Wires About VP Hide-Out

Pssstt! Did you hear about Dick Cheney's fortress hideaway under the Naval Observatory? Pass it on!

What seemed to be a bombshell national-security story of the weekend -- how Joe Biden blabbed about a secret bunker under the VP's residence -- began when a bit of secondhand dinner chatter hit the Internet and moved quickly through the blogs. Alas, it pretty much fell apart the minute we started making calls to . . . you know, check what turned out to be a game of Telephone, Washington-style:

In March, Biden attended the Gridiron dinner (an annual off-the-record media schmoozefest) and made small talk with club President Dick Cooper of the Tribune Co. At one point, Biden casually mentioned a secure room in his new home, previously used by Cheney and his aides. Per tradition, Cooper recapped the evening for the club newsletter, which was sent out this month.

Last week, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift read Cooper's summary and posted her juicier version on the magazine's blog: "Ever wonder about that secure, undisclosed location where Dick Cheney secreted himself after the 9/11 attacks?" Biden, she wrote, saw the "bunker-like room" when a young naval officer in the residence showed him the hideaway "behind a massive steel door secured by an elaborate lock with a narrow connecting hallway lined with shelves filled with communications equipment."

FoxNews.com ran with the story and chided Biden for "divulging potentially classified information meant to save the life of a sitting vice president" and speculated it was part of a long-rumored underground construction project.

However: The veep's office said yesterday that he simply described an upstairs workspace that was converted into a guestroom when the Bidens moved in. No security gaffe -- at least that's what they're telling us. In fact, it's long been reported that Cheney used a Cold War-era bunker in Pennsylvania as his undisclosed location.

Cheney didn't return our calls. Cooper declined to comment, citing the off-the record tradition of the club.

Hey, Isn't That . . . ?

-- Dick Cheney watching the Nationals lose to the Phillies on Sunday from a primo front-row seat behind home plate. Dark blue windbreaker, dour expression -- like most Nats fans.

-- Jill Sobule touring the Newseum yesterday. Blue-striped shirt, newsboy cap. The indie singer-songwriter (who wrote the original "I Kissed a Girl") played Iota in Arlington the night before.

-- Christian Siriano dining with a passel of family members at Redwood in Bethesda on Friday. The "Project Runway" winner, who hosted a fashion show up the street at Bethesda Row, wore skinny jeans, red-white-and-blue shirt, black vest, purple sneakers and his usual long black bangs.

Love, Etc.

-- Engaged: Cynthia Nixon, 43, and longtime girlfriend Christine Marinoni, 42, Nixon's rep confirmed to the Associated Press yesterday. The "Sex and the City" actress, who has two kids from a previous marriage to a man, flashed a diamond engagement ring at a rally in N.Y.C. for same-sex marriage Sunday. No word on what jurisdiction they'll get married in or if Marinoni's wearing a ring, too.

Quote

"Let him try to come here in the Philippines and he'll see mayhem."

-- Philippine Sen. Ramon Revilla, a former action movie star, threatening Alec Baldwin with a serious butt-kicking, according to the Associated Press. The comment came after Baldwin joked on David Letterman's show that he's "thinking about getting a Filipino mail-order bride."

Quote

"I partied my behind off. I heard there were classes, and some people told me I should go. But I was having a good time."

-- Michael Steele telling students at the District's H.D. Woodson High how he got kicked out of Johns Hopkins despite being freshman class president, on C-SPAN's "Students & Leaders," which airs Monday. Part of the RNC chair's message on "perseverance": He called the dean every day for five days, got straight A's in summer school . . . and eventually was readmitted.


© 2009 True

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